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Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK)
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The Arrow of Time: The Quest to Solve Science's Greatest Mystery: The Quest to Solve Science's Greatest Mysteries (Flamingo)
The Arrow of Time: The Quest to Solve Science's Greatest Mystery: The Quest to Solve Science's Greatest Mysteries (Flamingo)
by Peter Coveney
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring if time has direction, 2 May 2015
The Arrow of Time: The quest to solve science’s greatest mystery by Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield, Flamingo (HarperCollins), 1991, 382 ff

Dr Peter Coveney is a physicist working at a Cambridge Research Laboratory and Dr Roger Highfield is a journalist. Together they have produced a highly readable book though, dealing as it does with scientific problems, clearly some science background is necessary before reading it. The language is scientific, pitched at the level of a documentary that we might see on television. To be comfortable with reading this I suggest that readers need to be familiar with the top level of high-school science – but the explanations are clear, only the jargon may be a bit intimidating.

The range of topics covered is broad: beginning with ideas of time in literature and popular culture, it moves on quickly to the Second Law of Thermodynamics – the key to the directionality of time. The authors explain Boltzmann’s concept of entropy (the degree of disorder in a system) and show how this determines our vision of time’s arrow. They discuss how some equations in physics are time-independent whereas others involve a timescale. They explore the significance of time in relativity, quantum physics, cosmology and, inevitably, in thermodynamics and chaos theory.

There is an interesting Appendix on biological clocks, over 30 pages of Notes that expand on many of the topics covered, and a Bibliography of further reading. Now a quarter of a century old (but with a new edition imminent in 2015) this book is a fine overview of some of the most important topics in science today, though the latest discoveries about quarks and hadrons are not discussed.


Coincidence: A Matter of Chance - Or Synchronicity?
Coincidence: A Matter of Chance - Or Synchronicity?
by Brian Inglis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Is there any such thing as coincidence?, 2 May 2015
Coincidence: A matter of chance – or synchronicity? by Brian Inglis, Hutchinson (Random House), 1990, 222 ff.

Coincidence or synchronicity remains one of the many great puzzles of science related to the concept of time. It was Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung who defined synchronicity as the occurrence at the same time of two (or more) meaningful events that are not causally connected. If the outcome for the participants is a happy one, we call it serendipity. But there are many people – both scientists and those of deep spiritual faith – who maintain that there is no such thing as coincidence: that two such ‘coincidental’ events are merely an example of simultaneity brought about by the laws of physics or purposefully by God. In making sense of the world we instinctively make use of the concept of causality – the idea that every event that occurs must have another that preceded it which was its cause. But we frequently find meaningful coincidences occurring that are not causally related. These are what this book is all about.

The whole concept is tied up with notions of luck, fate or karma, and psychic phenomena such as dowsing, telepathy and precognition, all of which provide some instances here. The question is: Are these significant occurrences within the range of statistical probability (chance), or do they signify something more? In some cases, further investigation reveals causes that were hidden before. But we must be cautious in applying the methods of statistics indiscriminately – ‘a warning against chance being invoked to explain any and every sequence of coincidences’. The probability of anyone winning the lottery is many millions to one. But somebody does win each week and, if they play the lottery often enough, occasionally the same person may even win twice, however seemingly small the odds. Such events have been studied in their thousands by two Harvard professors of mathematics, Drs Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller some of whose work Inglis describes here.

It seems to be part of human nature – especially amongst scientists! – to look for patterns in events. Inglis points out that events may too readily be assessed as coincidental when they are no more significant than any such events arising by chance. This is not to suggest that Inglis dismisses the phenomenon of coincidence: he discusses Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas of morphic resonance and Jung’s collective unconscious as potential rational explanation and the role of quantum mechanics in such phenomena.

Overall, this is an intriguing and thought-provoking book, though it does not provide any definitive answers. There is a questionnaire for readers, a short bibliography and an index at the end of the book.


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stamp mounts, 20 April 2015
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Other Realities?: The Enigma of Franek Kluski's Mediumship
Other Realities?: The Enigma of Franek Kluski's Mediumship
by Zofia Weaver
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The remarkable story of a gifted Polish medium, 20 April 2015
Other Realities or The Real: The enigma of Franek Kluski’s mediumship by Zofia Weaver, White Crow Books, Hove, U.K., 2015, 182 ff.

This is an account of the mediumship of a Polish medium who operated under the pseudonym of Franek Kluski in the years 1918 to 1925. His work is little known in the west because it was reported in Polish – much of it by his friend Norbert Okołowitz. Only now, with an author fluent in Polish and who is also Editor of the SPR’s Journal and Proceedings, can Kluski’s story be told. Weaver tells us that “Kluski’s mediumship was witnessed by something like 350 people”, who included eminent men and women from many walks of life and including Dr. Charles Richet, a professor of physiology and a Nobel Prize winner in medicine, and the French astronomer and psychic investigator Camille Flammarion – psychic researchers well-known in the West. Also present at many séances was Tadeusz Urbański, a Polish professor of chemistry who died in 1985. Kluski never performed publicly as a medium and never profited financially from it. His mediumship was always carried out in small private gatherings. Both his father and his uncle – a Catholic priest – had mediumship qualities. Kluski, whose real name was Teofil Modrzejewski, was married and had two children – a boy and a girl.

Kluski experienced visions from the time he was a small boy. At sixteen he fell in love with a girl who subsequently died and hers was one of these visions. At 27 he fought a duel, was shot in the chest and was pronounced dead. There is no account of an out-of-body experience but Kluski survived to the amazement of the surgeon treating him. He earned his living as a poet and as a writer for the theatre. He was a deeply religious man and of uncertain health, varying between periods of vigour and times of emotional and physical fragility. When told in confession to cease his mediumistic activities, he did so immediately. But psychic phenomena seemed to invade his presence even outside séances – knockings on walls and windows of apartments before or after his visit, smells of ozone or the aroma of plants and flowers, flickering electric lights and small lights or other living entities in the air around his body.

Chapter 3, which forms the main part of the book, deals with the formal séances with some details of those who witnessed and subsequently described them and many details of the effects produced: the observers included psychical researchers well-known in the West In 1920 Kluski underwent rigorous examination under controlled conditions in the laboratory of French physician Dr Gustave Geley for a series of séances that produced odours, lights, sounds, apports and human apparitions. These effects are described in detail in this chapter.

A number of experiments were devoted to obtaining paraffin wax moulds of materialized hands. This account is too long to reproduce in a short review so I shall take Geley’s description from a book of his own, Clairvoyance and Materialization. “The procedure is to set a bowl containing paraffin wax, kept at melting-point by being floated on warm water, near the medium,” Geley reported. “The materialized ‘entity’ is asked to plunge a hand, a foot, or even part of a face into the paraffin several times. A closely fitting envelope is thus formed, which sets at once in air or by being dipped into another bowl of cold water. The envelope or ‘glove’ is then freed by dematerialization of the member. Plaster can be poured at leisure into the glove, thus giving a perfect cast of the hand.” On one occasion, Geley and Richet added some blue colouring matter to the paraffin, giving it a bluish tinge. “This was done secretly, to be an absolute proof that the moulds were made on the spot and not brought ready-made into the laboratory by Franek or any other person and passed off on us by legerdemain,” Geley explained, pointing out that the operations lasted from one to two minutes. These molds are widely considered to be some of the most objective evidence of spirit life on record.

This chapter also describes the appearance of apparitions by another observer at many séances – F.W. Pawlowski, a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Michigan, who commented: “the most impressive and convincing feature of these apparitions when they came toward us were the eyes and the faces with their lifelike expressions. When questions were addressed to the apparitions the facial expression was always perfectly suited to the answer, while an amiable smile played constantly about their lips.”

Chapter 4 explores the significance of the phenomena described in this book – whether in fact they provide enough evidence of the existence of other realities that represent ‘the real world’ of which our environment on Earth is but an illusion. There is also a list of References and an Index.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2015 8:56 AM BST


In the Light of Death: Experiences on the threshold between life and death
In the Light of Death: Experiences on the threshold between life and death
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting accounts from hospices, 20 April 2015
In the Light of Death: Experiences on the threshold between life and death by Ineke Koedam, White Crow Books, Hove, U.K., 2015, 174 pp

As ‘death’ becomes less of an unmentionable topic, there are many books on the market that cover various aspects of this complex subject. This book is full of information presented in a simple and straightforward way, making it suitable for anyone to read whatever their level of prior knowledge or belief.

It contains anecdotal information on end-of-life experiences (ELEs) given by hospice care-givers from The Netherlands, in their own words with the author’s observations woven around them, presented in short, themed chapters. Most of the care-givers work voluntarily, often having had an experience themselves of a loved one passing over, and their approach is inspiring. The author is also a hospice care-giver who has visited other hospices as well and interviewed care-givers from them all.

Like most people, I know little about hospice care but, having read these accounts, it seems like a wonderful place to end your days on earth. The emphasis throughout the books is on ‘death’ being a process that we work through, and there are numerous accounts of patients describing who they ‘see’ visiting them to offer help from Spirit. In some cases, the care-givers ask the patients if they can see their loved ones joining them from Spirit and they are told that various relatives are with them. About a day and a half before she passed over, one lady asked her grand-daughter to pack her bag as her husband was waiting for her! Other patients have felt the need to heal rifts within families before they go and this is very satisfying for everyone, including the care-givers.

The care-givers seem to develop an intuition about whether or not they should sit with patients who are close to passing, and they frequently seem to spend time with them in this way – just being a presence, which is particularly important for those who have no family or friends who can be with them during their transition.

This intuition also extends to when the body of the soul who has passed should be washed and prepared for burial or cremation because the spirit can linger for a while after their final breath. The respect and love with which the care-givers treat these patients is touching and inspiring. But as I was reading the book, I kept thinking that, in fact, this is the way we need to treat one another throughout our lives if we are to develop spiritually and emotionally. It is simply a matter of being aware and sensitive to others’ feelings and beliefs without intruding on their lives.

Throughout the book, there is a feeling that the three levels of care – emotional, spiritual and practical – are interwoven seamlessly in the hospices so that everything is calm and well-ordered. The information given in the chapter on the ‘Physical Aspects of Death’ gives a sensitive and practical description of the natural effects of death on the body and how to deal with them, which is a good supplement to the emotional and spiritual aspects mainly discussed in the rest of the book.

Although ‘death’ can be viewed as a distressing event, this book stresses the fact that it is a natural part of life and needs to be treated as such. It is well written in a plain style that makes it all the more helpful. It is not a depressing book to read and would, I think, give hope and comfort to the very many people who fear this normal conclusion to just one stage in our long journey of spiritual development.

Howard Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God


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5.0 out of 5 stars Stamp mounts, 13 April 2015
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The Quest for a Moral Compass
The Quest for a Moral Compass
by Kenan Malik
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to the philosophy of ethics, 14 Feb. 2015
The Quest for a Moral Compass: A global history of ethics by Kenan Malik, Atlantic Books, London, 2014, 392pp.

The title of this book tells us precisely what it is about – it is an introduction to the history of humanity’s search for ethical values. It presents a survey of moral issues raised by philosophers from those of ancient Greece to 20th century philosophers like G.E. Moore and the pragmatists. It is skilfully written but, as an author and publisher myself, I would see the market for this book being mainly among lay or academic students of philosophy.

The much shorter books on ‘Ethics’ by J.L. Mackie (Penguin) and ‘Moral Philosophy’ by D.D. Raphael (Oxford) are much more accessible for the interested layman, and I found Richard Norman’s ‘The Moral Philosophers’ (Oxford) the most useful as a student though, dating as they do, from the end of the 20th century they might be regarded by some as out-of-date. While certain moral issues come and go with time and others vary between societies, there are certain basic issues which are timeless and universal – like needing to distinguish between what is subjective and what is objective; or recognizing what role intuitions play in prescribing or inhibiting moral behaviour.

I think Tom Holland’s comment on the book jacket that Malik’s treatise could ever replace Bertrand Russell’s ‘History of Western Philosophy’ is quite mistaken: Malik’s book deals with only a small section of the subject of philosophy. Malik is a lecturer, writer and broadcaster who specializes in the history and philosophy of science, and of biology in particular.

Ethics is perhaps the most personal and subjective of all the branches of philosophy, compared with the philosophy of science, metaphysics or even religion. So while an author can recount what philosophers have said about moral issues through the ages, interpreting these views with regard to their significance for contemporary society is inevitably very much a matter of an author’s personal viewpoint. Malik seems to come down firmly on the side of relativism. In summarizing near the end of the book Malik says: ‘Questions of morality do not have objective answers in the way that scientific questions do, but neither are they merely expressions of subjective desire or taste’. My feeling is that many ethical questions are precisely that.

At the end of the book, there are Reference Notes to each chapter, a ten-page Bibliography of further reading and an Index that was sufficiently detailed for me to find out something about each of the moral philosophers and their issues that I knew about.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness


Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plato Today!, 13 Jan. 2015
Plato at the Googleplex: Why philosophy won’t go away, by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein; Pantheon Books (Random House), New York, 2014; Atlantic Books, London, 2014, 462 pp.

The public perception of philosophy is that it is a somewhat abstruse subject, of little or no relevance to the way we live our everyday lives. Goldstein shows that this is far from the case by considering the life and work of perhaps the most famous of Greek philosophers – Plato. It was A.N. Whitehead who said that all Western philosophy was merely a footnote to Plato.
Of course, Plato’s writings reflect the age and mores of the society in which he lived, so inevitably many of the principles of moral behaviour and fragments of knowledge that are commonplace today are not to be found here, and vice versa (or perhaps I should say antistropha!). Goldstein re-interprets the two dozen dialogues of Plato as if he were alive and addressing some of the problems of society today.

Goldstein uses many quotations from the original Platonic dialogues where these are illustrative, but her Plato is presented within a present-day scenario: at Google headquarters discussing whether crowd-sourcing can answer all ethical questions; he is on a panel of child-rearing experts discussing how to raise a child so that it will shine; he visits a cognitive neuroscience laboratory to have his brain scanned and to discuss whether the problems of free will and personal identity can be resolved by brain imaging.

As Goldstein points out, the Greeks were only one of several civilizations generating and exploring unique world-views of the value of human life – in the Mediterranean region there were also the Ivrim or Hebrews and the Zoroastrians while to the East Confucius, Lao Tzu and Chang Tzu in China and Siddhartha Gautama in India were proposing ethical visions of their own, but all maintaining that one must exert oneself in order to achieve a life that matters to others.

This is a wonderful if challenging book that explores many of the issues that trouble contemporary society. Provided one is not daunted by the size, the text is very readable and the witty chapter headings tell us what to expect within: Chapter 1, alpha, ‘Man walks into a seminar room’ lays out some fundamental philosophical issues about life on other planets, what value we place on our own life relative to that of others (who would we die for, or donate our organs to?), and other ‘thought-experiments’ [As an aside, the EPR thought-experiment was one of the most significant developments in early quantum physics].
To return to Goldstein: Chapter 5, epsilon, ‘I don’t know how to love him’ deals with erotic and largely homosexual relationships in ancient Greece. The following chapter, sigma, ‘xxxPlato’, answers personal questions addressed to an agony aunt.

This is a book intended not just for philosophy students but for general readers who consider themselves to be active and thoughtful participants in contemporary society. The style of writing on a potentially challenging subject is fluid, accessible and entertaining. The book concludes with both a Bibliography and an Index.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness


Wooden Tree of Life Trinket Box (Small)
Wooden Tree of Life Trinket Box (Small)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well crafted piece of treen, 29 Dec. 2014
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A beautifully made piece of craft-work!


Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr
Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr
by Michael Cocks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom teaching that serves as an inspirational moral guide, 29 Dec. 2014
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Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks, White Crow Books, Guildford, 2011, 324 ff

The author of this book was formerly the Anglican vicar of a parish in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is also one who is enlightened enough to accept that there are people among us who can access the thoughts of discarnate souls. The author obtained a Master’s Degree in philosophy from the University of New Zealand and a Master’s Degree in theology from the University of Oxford.

The text has arisen from spiritual sessions attended by the author in New Zealand during the 1970s at the home of Thomas and Olive Ashman. The Ashmans had emigrated to New Zealand from Sevenoaks in Kent. Thomas was a trance medium with a Catholic mother and a Jewish father but apart from a little Yiddish he picked up at home he spoke no languages other than his native English, but in trance spoke Latin and, on two occasions, in an ancient Greek dialect. The text is presented here in more than 170 short sections on a range of subjects.

When Thomas went into trance his spirit guide called himself Stephen. It soon emerged that this guide was in fact the Stephen who became the first Christian martyr. Stephen was a deacon in the church in Jerusalem who was stoned to death for blasphemy by members of local synagogues. The only primary source for information about Stephen is the book of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament.

In the trance sessions, the ten or so members of the group, including Rev. Cocks, asked questions of ‘Stephen’ and elicited replies. The conversations covered a wide range of subjects, beginning with: our purpose on Earth. Unsurprisingly, Stephen confirmed what other mediums have transmitted – that material comforts, though important to us in mortal life, are of no importance in our spiritual development. He compares the human body as carrier of the soul to the clothes that we wear in earthly life: we are still the same body without the clothes; we are still the same souls without our bodies. As immortal souls in Spirit we look back on our mortal lives and see ‘many images that we might learn of ourselves’ like ever-changing reflections in a pool. The circumstances we encounter in life influence our decisions: the path we choose to follow is the path determined by karma in Spirit decided by us before incarnation. Our earthly knowledge is limited: we can measure the water in a jug or weigh the sand in a glass but we cannot measure the water in the oceans of the world or the sand in all of its beaches.

I clearly cannot do justice, within a review of a few hundred words, to the wisdom presented here in more than 300 pages of questions and profound responses. Many answers are given in enlightening but thought-provoking metaphors. This is not a book to be skimmed through – it is an intense wisdom teaching about how and why we should live our lives the way we do. Although there are many references to Jesus Christ, the underlying messages are relevant to those of any religion – or none.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness


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